Ten Surprising Facts About The Matterhorn
In March, we’re hosting an exciting return trip to Zermatt, Switzerland — home to one of the most iconic mountain peaks in the world. Check out some of the biggest surprises about the Matterhorn!
1. Like a four-sided pyramid, the Matterhorn has four distinct faces. Fascinatingly, they face exactly north, south, east and west.
2. Walt Disney patterned the Disneyland roller coaster on a precise 1-to-100 scale of the actual Matterhorn in Zermatt. Unlike the mountain, however, there’s a basketball court hidden inside the top floors of Disney’s version.
3. The Matterhorn welcomes more than 3,000 climbers every year. Its first ascent in 1865, however, was deadly. Although seven climbers reached the peak, the rope they used wasn’t strong enough to support all seven men during the descent. Four of them fell to their deaths. Their broken rope is now on display at the Matterhorn museum in Zermatt.
4. Because it sits on the border between Switzerland and Italy, the Italians have their own name for the Matterhorn: Monte Cervino. On our SKI BUMS trip, we’ll be skiing & snowboarding across the border down into the Italian village of Cervinia. They’ve got amazing pasta.
5. Produced in Berne, Switzerland, the famous Toblerone chocolate bars feature the Matterhorn on its packaging. A symbol of Berne — a bear — is hidden within the Matterhorn logo.
6. With the right weather conditions, the Matterhorn appears to emit steaming vapor when billowing clouds hug one of the four faces. That’s an atmospheric phenomenon known as banner clouds. They’re especially beautiful when they catch the light of a sunrise or sunset.
7. The town of Zermatt is car-free; a series of historic trains connects the village to the rest of the Alps. The Glacier Express train travels past the Matterhorn on its way to St. Moritz. See for yourself in this amazing video from Solomon Freeski.
8. Although often hidden by snow, the rock face at the top is hued a distinct lime green color.
9. The mountain peaks around the Matterhorn feature massive glaciers and incredible snow preservation; Zermatt is one of the only places in the world that offers skiing and snowboarding 365 days per year.
10. Although no longer used in search and rescue missions, a few photogenic St. Bernards happily pose each year for photos in front of the Matterhorn. The BUMS stopped for a photo back in 2006 on our first trip to Zermatt — have a look at our photo gallery from our first trip to Switzerland!
Learn more about the SKI BUMS trip to Zermatt in March, 2013 >